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Photos of Royal Caribbean's new cruise ship begin to leak online and it looks amazing

25 Dec 2023
Matt Hochberg

Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas is just about a month away from debuting, but we're getting glimpses of what the new cruise ship looks like.

Icon of the Seas preview

Icon of the Seas is nearly ready for her first revenue cruise in January, and we're starting to get an idea of what the new ship really looks like based on photos taken by some of the crew members onboard.

The new ship departed the shipyard in Finland and went to Cadiz, Spain where the ship stopped to load provisions and crew members.

There will eventually be 2,350 crew members on Icon of the Seas, and some of them have taken to posting photos and video to social media. You can't blame them for being so excited to share what the ship looks like. Even Royal Caribbean's top executives have posted photos from the new ship.

Icon of the Seas front render

Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Entertainment Nick Weir has shared a look at the ice skating theater and AquaTheater with his posts on social media.

Mr. Weir is so proud of the talented performers onboard that he shares a look at the hard work that goes into preparing it all.

AquaTheater on Icon of the Seas

Icon of the Seas will have a number of new performance venues, including an entire AquaTheater enclosed under the AquaDome. Encompassing more than 33,000 square meters and extending from Deck 14 to 20, the AquaDome neighborhood is home to new dining venues, a lounge, and new staterooms.

Absolute zero

Absolute Zero is located at the end of the Royal Promenade and will have two shows performed across the 2,850 square feet of ice.

Royal Promenade on Icon of the Seas

Crew members that are working on Icon of the Seas have begun sharing photos too.

Andy C. shared photos of the Royal Promenade from an event that took place in the neighborhood recently.

Karaoke on Icon of the Seas

At 362 feet long, the Royal Promenade onboard Icon of the seas is longer than a football field, and for the first time, it incorporates ocean views.

Schooner Bar on Icon of the Seas

Nearly all of the venues (except The Attic) are fully open on the Royal Promenade, so music can be heard from all over the Royal Promenade and for it to be more enticing for passengers to want to experience it all.

Starbucks on Icon of the Seas

Many Royal Caribbean ships have a Royal Promenade, but this version of the Promenade is easier to get around. You can easily get between deck five and deck six, or head up stairs to Central Park on deck eight. Plus, there's an escalator from the Promenade to get you down to the casino and gangway on port days.

There are many venues around the Promenade, including Giovanni's Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar.

There will also be a Dueling Pianos bar, Sorrento's pizzeria, Point and Feather pub, Spotlight Karaoke, Boleros and Schooner Bar.

Schooner Bar on Icon of the Seas

Even though there aren't passengers onboard yet, the ship is still celebrating Christmas.

Photos taken show the giant Christmas tree on the Royal Promenade. Royal Caribbean celebrates Christmas on every ship, and this year, crew members get the chance to enjoy it all to themselves.

Christmas Tree on Icon of the Seas

Located on deck six, Dueling Pianos is Royal Caribbean's first double-pianist bar where the two performers take requests and involve guests in the musical fun.

The location of Dueling Pianos right next to The Attic comedy club on the Royal Promenade is deliberately to bring more entertainment and more energy into to Royal Promenade.

Dueling Pianos on Icon of the Seas

Pearl Cafe is the evolution of the Cafe Promenade concept, that has complimentary casual bistro cafe experience with elevated bistro food.

Pearl Cafe serves freshly toasted croissants, hot chocolate croissants, croissant sandwiches, sweets, and other specialty desserts. 

Pearl Cafe

Royal Caribbean's well-known complimentary pizza will have a tweak that aims to improve the flow and reduce lines.

The plan is to get away from having switchbacks and queues to handle the lines that form for pizza. By giving the space a larger footprint, the hope is lines will be shorter.


The Pearl is the focal point of the Royal Promenade, and it's an architectural marvel that will bring the ship to life, offering different experiences throughout the voyage.

"The Pearl has a lot of different purposes. It's hard to put into context," said Jay Schneider, Chief Product Innovation Officer for Royal Caribbean International.

"It's a bit art, a bit sculpture, a bit experience, a bit WOW." 

Read more: First look at The Pearl


You can see with the Point and Feather pub a very open layout.

Point & Feather pub

It's worth noting on the second level of the Royal Promenade you can circle it completely, which is something you can't do on other Royal Caribbean ships. 

Guest services on Icon of the Seas

The ship's ice skating rink is aft, and The Music Hall and Casino Royale are located one deck below.

Boleros on Icon of the Seas

Video previews

Royal Caribbean has gotten into the swing of sharing glimpses of Icon of the Seas too.

The social media time has already gotten onboard Icon and has been sharing video snippets on Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms.

The new posts are in anticipation of the transatlantic crossing, when Icon of the Seas will head to Puerto Rico first and then Miami shortly thereafter.

The first revenue cruise of Icon of the Seas is on January 27, 2024 with paying passengers. There will be a series of preview sailings for travel agents and media in the weeks leading up to the start of sailings.

The ship will sail year-round out of Miami in 2024, alternating between Eastern Caribbean and Western Caribbean itineraries, with four different routings available for departures between January 2024 and April 2025.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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